By Kevin Posival and Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
An idea discussed at the Killeen Independent School District school board meeting Tuesday could mean major zoning changes for the athletic programs at Killeen, Ellison and Harker Heights.
To alleviate overcrowding at Ellison and Harker Heights high schools, the school board is looking into four rezoning possibilities that would increase the enrollment at Killeen High School, the district's only Class 4A school.
"There was no formal recommendation, it's literally in the discussion phases right now," said KISD public information officer Leslie Gilmore. "... This is the first time the administration has brought any kind of options to the board as far as where lines might be drawn."
Killeen, which turned in an enrollment of 1,829 students before the University Interscholastic League's 2010 biennial realignment, is more than 800 students smaller than the district's largest school – Harker Heights (2,605). Ellison's enrollment numbers were 2,572 and Shoemaker, the district's smallest 5A school, turned in an enrollment of 2,230 but would not be affected by the rezoning.
"I just think its overdue – it's something we've should've done a long time ago," said Harker Heights basketball coach Celneque Bobbitt. "I would think it'd really help the district out and keep us from opening up another high school."
UIL Director of Athletics Cliff Odenwald said if the numbers push Killeen into the 5A level, which would mean an influx of more than 236 students, the UIL state executive committee could rule that the Roos football program would be ineligible to make the playoffs for the next two years. All sports other than football, though, would compete at the 5A level.
"When a school district rezones lines and creates (an) especially inbalanced enrollment figure, then there could be sanctions," Odenwald said. "Not until the 2012 alignment could (Killeen football) get realigned into another district."
The proposals being discussed include:
Shifting just Ellison students living north of U.S. Highway 190 to Killeen High.
Shifting just Harker Heights students living north of Highway 190 to Killeen High.
Shifting both Ellison and Harker Heights students living north of Highway 190 to Killeen High
Shifting Ellison students living north of Highway 190 and students living on the Harker Heights side of Hymesa Estates would go to Killeen.
While there were between four and six unique options, the third and fourth proposals were discussed at length. Also discussed was the possibility of allowing kids already in school to continue there under a grandfather clause.
"In a school district like this, you have to take what happens. It's obvious something has to be done to alleviate the crowding here and at Harker Heights," said Ellison football coach Buddy McBryde "... It would affect us some, but not to the degree you might think. We tend to get more of our athletes from the (middle) schools (south of 190)."